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Brockport / History / Faculty / Dr. William Morris

History Faculty

Dr. Will Morris

Office: 123 Albert W. Brown Building


  • Modern Germany, 20th Century World, Postwar Europe, Sub-Cultural Studies, Urban History, History of Drug Consumption


  • Ph.D., Modern European History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2009.
  • M.A., European History, University of Mississippi, 2002.
  • B.A., History and Psychology, University of Mississippi, 2000.

Awards and Honors

  • History Department Dissertation Completion Fellowship, University of Illinois, 2007- 08.
  • 10-Month Deutscher Akademischer Ausstausch Dienst (DAAD) Research Grant, 2004-05.

Courses Taught

  • History 202: The Modern World
  • History 303: The Holocaust in History and Memory
  • History / Film Studies 322: Cold War Culture (team taught)
  • History 349: Twentieth Century Europe
  • History 351:   Nazi Germany
  • History 362: The Second World War
  • History 390: The Global 1970s
  • History 441/541: The First World War
  • History 643: Topics in Modern European History


  • Review of Roberto Sala, Fremde Worte: Medien für “Gastarbeiter” in der Bundesrepublik im Spannungsfeld von Außen- und Sozialpolitik, forthcoming in German History, 2012.
  • “When Philology became Destiny,” Review of Tuska Benes, In Babel’s Shadow: Language, Philology, and the Nation in Nineteenth Century Germany, H-Net, September, 2009.
  • “An Intellectual History Survey of Nationalism Masked as a Cultural History,” Review of Joep Leerssen, National Thought in Europe: A Cultural History, H-Net, November, 2007.

Conferences and Presentations

  • “Transcendent Decay: The Red Light District as a Locus of Social Critique in 1970s West Germany,” German Studies Association Annual Conference, Milwaukee, WI, October 3, 2012.
  • “Destructive Selves: Women Terrorists and Junkies in the West German Imagination,” German Studies Association Annual Conference, Louisville, KY, September 23, 2011.
  • “Heroin as a Radical Substance: Drugs, Terror and Political Protest in 1970s West Germany,” International Conference on the History of Alcohol and Drugs, Buffalo, NY, June 26, 2011.
  • “Why are there no Jews in Panzer General, or, the Strategy of Historical Memory,” at the Midwestern Popular Culture Association, Minneapolis, MN, Oct 1-3, 2010.
  • “As Radical as Reality: Heroin Use as Political Radicalism in 1970s West Germany?” The College at Brockport, State University of New York, October 14, 2010.
  • “Transcendent Decay: The Red Light District as a Locus of Social Critique in 1970s West Germany,” Illinois Wesleyan University, March 9, 2010.
  • Panel discussion participant, “When the Wall came Tumbling Down,” Illinois Wesleyan University, Nov 9, 2009.
  • “Heroin as a Radical Substance: Youth Subcultures in 1970s Frankfurt,” Illinois State University – Illinois Wesleyan University History Departmental Colloquium, October 21, 2009.
  • Conference Co-Coordinator and Treasurer, Self and Substance: Drugs, Culture and Society, held at the University of Illinois, April 10-11, 2009.
  • “One, Two, Many 1968s: Interpreting the Revolution,” Illinois Wesleyan University, February 27, 2009.
  • “Teaching Harm: Risk in Frankfurt am Main’s Anti-Drug Curriculum, 1967-1981,” at the German Studies Association Annual Conference, St. Paul, MN, Oct 2-5, 2008.
  • “Mind in Agony: Hallucination and Longing in Bernward Vesper’s Die Reise,” at the Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture since 1900, University of Louisville, Feb 21-23, 2008.
  • “The ‘Play Element’ in 1968,” at the German Studies Association Annual Conference, San Diego, CA, October 4 – 7, 2007.
  • “Past, Present, and Future: On the Competing Origins of 1960's-70's West German Leftist Radicalism” at the First North American Conference on Radicalism, Michigan State University, Jan 25-27, 2007.

Current Projects

  • My current book project -  Curing the Sick City:  Drug Use, Alternative Sub-Cultures, and Contested Urban Space in Frankfurt am Main, 1967-1983 - investigates the emergence of drug using sub-cultures, especially heroin scenes, in West Germany during the 1970s. The work aims to use historical methodology to answer questions of user motivation by placing the choice for drugs within a specific historical moment. Drug consumption achieved political salience in West Germany alongside the counter-cultural left in the late sixties. The left and the drug, as activists maintained, “wanted the same thing.” Even as the substances dominating the drug scene shifted from hashish and LSD to heroin in the early seventies, this political impetus behind consumption persisted. The drug scene remained linked with the wider drop-out counter-culture that bloomed after 1968. Those two scenes, the counter-cultural left and the drug scene, fought a running battle with Frankfurt city authorities for much of the 1970s. The battles drug users fought – with the police, city authorities, their neighbors and even themselves – shaped both the spaces that they contested within the city and urban society as a whole. Curing the Sick City tells the story of those battles over the modern city and lays out their significance for understanding changes occurring in West German urban society, and indeed the very fabric of West German identity, in the 1970s.

Last Updated 8/23/12


Department hosts NEH Workshop, Rochester Reform Trail, for K-12 teachers in July 2014

History major Amy Freeman publishes article on Eastman Dental Dispensary in the D&C

Dr. Takashi Nishiyama interviewed by Yomuiri, Japan's major national newspaper.

Dr. Ken O'Brien has been named a SUNY Provost Fellow for the 2013-2014 year.

Dr. Bruce Leslie has been made a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor.




The Robert Marcus lecture will be on Thursday, March 6, at 7:30 pm in the New York Room in Cooper Hall.